Can Mattresses Be Recycled?

by Véronique Raymond
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If you’ve just bought a new mattress, you’re probably wondering how exactly someone disposes of an old mattress.

Your first instinct may be to toss it in the trash or pawn it off on someone else, but have you thought of recycling?

Mattresses and box springs can be recycled, and there are many creative ways to upcycle a mattress you no longer need if you’re a reuse rather than recycle type.


How to Know When It’s Time to Toss That Old Mattress

There are a number of signs to watch out for that will tell you it is time to add your mattress to the junk removal list.

Squeaky springs and sagging foam are the top two signs that your mattress has outlived its best days.

Over time, the foam will lose its ability to bounce back from compression, and the springs will lose their tightness.

Whether you sleep on an innerspring mattress, all-foam mattress, or hybrid of some type, you’ll start to notice at least one of these most notable symptoms of a mattress that has reached the end of its lifespan.

Some less obvious signs that it is time to get rid of your mattress are bed bugs, yellow staining, musty odours coming off the mattress, a change in your sleep habits (becoming a restless sleeper or having trouble falling asleep), and waking up with pain in new areas.

All of these things are signs that your mattress has lost its ability to both support and comfort you while you sleep.

Most of these things won’t be noticed until the mattress is nearing the end of its warranty period, but since this is a natural aging process, you’ll still have to buy a new mattress and decide on the best way to get rid of your old one.

Whether you donate it, contact a recycling company, have the retailer dispose of it for you, or upscale it yourself, you’ll know you are making the responsible choice.


Why You Shouldn’t Just Throw Out An Old Mattress

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There are several reasons why you shouldn’t simply throw out a mattress you no longer need.

Though dropping it off in a landfill may sound like the most convenient option, some areas in Canada have actually banned the dumping of mattresses in landfills, and for good reason too.

Mattresses can take up to 100 years to decompose on average, and they leak all kinds of toxic chemicals into the ground that can be hazardous for us and for animals.

Plus, there are so many better ways to dispose of a mattress, from recycling to upcycling to donating, that tossing it in the trash is unnecessary.

You can even donate your mattress to a non-profit like habitat for humanity or a local goodwill location if it is in good condition.

Some mattress companies will even dispose of your old bed responsibly for no cost when they deliver new products to your home.


Can Used Mattresses Be Recycled?

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Luckily, up to 80% of mattresses can be recycled (let’s thank the Mattress Recycling Council for this info), meaning your old mattress most likely won’t have to contribute to the growing landfill crisis.

States such as California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island make mattress recycling a no brainer, and there are many other places in North America that are adopting this trend.

Many components of a mattress are made of materials that can be recycled.

Wood frames, metal springs, many stuffing materials, and even the outer fabric layer can be recycled to various purposes. As a result, pretty much every type of mattress can be recycled to some degree.

Even if not every component can be used, mattress recycling programs will all do what they can to limit the amount of material ending up in a landfill.

It is important to note that your mattress should not just be left outside for regular recycling pickup.

You should get in touch with your local recycling center in order to confirm that they can take your old mattress, and then it is as simple as a quick drop-off.

Mattress recycling does not need to be a complicated process, but it is something you should put the time into accomplishing.


Best Ways to Upcycle an Old Mattress

In addition to donating your mattress to a local charity/non-profit, dropping it off at a mattress recycling facility, or contacting a mattress disposal company, there are many ways that you yourself can make use of an old mattress when it is no longer adequate for sleeping on.

Most people will want to say bye bye mattress and get it out of the home as quickly as possible, but if you’d like to upcycle your mattress instead, there are a number of options open to you.

The filling from various types of foam mattress (such as memory foam, latex foam, and polyurethane foam) makes great fill materials for pet beds.

If you want to give your cat or dog a comfy place to sleep without spending a lot of money on a pet store bed, upcycling your mattress foam (as long as it is in good shape) is one of the best things you can do.

Comfort or support layers that are still intact can make great sleeping or play mats for children, and scrap metal can be used to make decorations.

There are many other ideas out there, so if you’re looking for something a little more unique, you can check out various social media sites or browse thrift stores for creative, eco-friendly ideas for re-purposing your mattress materials.


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